EUGENE — Oregon will face Josh Rosen for the first time Saturday.
It will be the third game Troy Dye has played against UCLA’s star junior quarterback.
“He knocked me out of the playoffs twice in high school,” Dye said this week as the Ducks (4-3 overall, 1-3 Pac-12) prepared to visit the Bruins (3-3, 1-2). “This is a big game for me because it is Josh Rosen, but Josh is a great quarterback who knows what he is doing and he has been knowing what he’s doing for a long, long time.”
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Rosen passed for 8,473 yards and 90 touchdowns in three years at St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California. Dye was one year behind Rosen at Norco (California) High School.
“Everyone knew in high school that he was NFL-bound because of the way he was able to read defenses at the high school level,” Dye said. “It is cool to see it come to fruition and all his hard work is paying off.”
Rosen, who is expected to leave UCLA after this season and be a first-round pick in the NFL draft, ranks third in the nation with 2,354 passing yards and an average of 390.3 yards per game of total offense. His 17 touchdown passes trail only Washington State’s Luke Falk (19) in the Pac-12.
“It is not many times you get to go against a great quarterback like this,” Dye said. “We already played against a great quarterback in Josh Allen at Wyoming and Falk at Washington State. We get the trifecta with Josh Rosen.”
Dye, who is tied for second in the Pac-12 with 62 tackles, could not recall if he ever got a hard hit on Rosen in high school.
“I guess I didn’t if I don’t remember it,” Dye said. “I look forward to probably getting him this week.”
Dye’s brother Tony played safety at UCLA from 2008 to 2011. His younger brother Travis is a running back at Norco High who has committed to sign with the Ducks for next season.
Dye will face the Bruins for the first time with the Ducks, whose last game against UCLA was a 42-30 win in Los Angeles on Oct. 11, 2014, en route to the College Football Playoff.
“It is going to be kind of cool to be back home playing in the Rose Bowl stadium where I went four straight years to watch my brother play,” Troy Dye said. “It is just another game in Pac-12 play. We need to go get a victory to help turn our season around at this point. I am just excited to go back home and play in front of my family.”
UCLA leads the conference with an average of 527.2 yards of offense per game, more than 75 percent coming through the air. Oregon ranks eighth in the Pac-12 in pass defense, allowing 246.3 yards per game.
“We just have to go out there and play defense regardless of whether we are going against the run or the pass and we have to play it well,” Dye said. “We have to go out with a great mindset and attitude.”
The Ducks’ first look at Rosen will likely be their only one before he turns pro.
“We have to minimize his opportunities,” Oregon defensive line coach Joe Salave’a said. “We have to get him off his reads. If you give any top-five quarterback in the country a chance to go through his primary and secondary reads, life will be tough. The goal is really simple — we have to be active and consistent up front.”